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Urban floods intensifying, countryside drying up
August 16, 2017 08:15 AM - Wilson Da Silva, University of New South Wales

A global analysis of rainfall and rivers by UNSW engineers has discovered a growing pattern of intense flooding in urban areas coupled with drier soils in rural and farming areas.

New-generation material removes iodine from water
June 9, 2017 05:58 PM - Dartmouth College

Researchers at Dartmouth College have developed a new material that scrubs iodine from water for the first time. The breakthrough could hold the key to cleaning radioactive waste in nuclear reactors and after nuclear accidents like the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

The new-generation microporous material designed at Dartmouth is the result of chemically stitching small organic molecules to form a framework that scrubs the isotope from water.

Lake Harvests are Likely More Fruitful than We Knew
June 28, 2017 08:13 AM - USGS

Harvests from freshwater fisheries such as the Great Lakes could total more than 12 million tons a year globally and contribute more to global food supplies and economies than previous estimates indicate, according to a study published today by Michigan State University and the U.S. Geological Survey.

Projected Precipitation Increases Are Bad News for Water Quality
July 27, 2017 04:40 PM - Carnegie Institution for Science

If climate change is not curbed, increased precipitation could substantially overload U.S. waterways with excess nitrogen, according to a new study from Carnegie’s Eva Sinha and Anna Michalak and Princeton University’s Venkatramani Balaji published by Science. Excess nutrient pollution increases the likelihood of events that severely impair water quality. The study found that impacts will be especially strong in the Midwest and Northeast.

Olive mill wastewater transformed: From pollutant to bio-fertilizer, biofuel
September 28, 2017 01:00 PM - American Chemical Society

Olive oil has long been a popular kitchen staple. Yet producing the oil creates a vast stream of wastewater that can foul waterways, reduce soil fertility and trigger extensive damage to nearby ecosystems. Now in a study appearing in ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering, scientists report on the development of an environmentally friendly process that could transform this pollutant into “green” biofuel, bio-fertilizer and safe water for use in agricultural irrigation.

ALMA Confirms Complex Chemistry in Titan's Atmosphere
July 28, 2017 02:52 PM - National Radio Astronomy Observatory

Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, is one of our solar system’s most intriguing and Earth-like bodies. It is nearly as large as Mars and has a hazy atmosphere made up mostly of nitrogen with a smattering of organic, carbon-based molecules, including methane (CH4) and ethane (C2H6). Planetary scientists theorize that this chemical make-up is similar to Earth’s primordial atmosphere.

Illinois Sportfish Recovery a Result of 1972 Clean Water Act, Scientists Report
October 18, 2017 12:35 PM - University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Populations of largemouth bass, bluegill, catfish and other sportfish are at the highest levels recorded in more than a century in the Illinois River, according to a new report. Their dramatic recovery, from populations close to zero near Chicago throughout much of the 20th century, began just after implementation of the Clean Water Act, the researchers say.

Scientists Begin to Unlock Secrets of Deep Ocean Color from Organic Matter
May 17, 2017 04:53 PM - University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science

About half of atmospheric carbon dioxide is fixed by ocean's phytoplankton, mainly picocyanobacteria, through a process called photosynthesis. Picocyanobacteria are tiny, unicellular microorganisms that are abundant and widely distributed in freshwater and marine environments. A large portion of biologically fixed carbon is formed by picocyanobacteria at the sea surface and then transported to the deep ocean. But what remains a mystery is how colored dissolved organic matter which originates from plant detritus (either on land or at sea) makes it into the deep ocean. A team of scientists from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science and around the world potentially found a viable marine source of this colored material.

Hidden river once flowed beneath Antarctic ice
August 21, 2017 05:46 PM - Rice University

Antarctic researchers from Rice University have discovered one of nature’s supreme ironies: On Earth’s driest, coldest continent, where surface water rarely exists, flowing liquid water below the ice appears to play a pivotal role in determining the fate of Antarctic ice streams.

The finding, which appears online this week in Nature Geoscience, follows a two-year analysis of sediment cores and precise seafloor maps covering 2,700 square miles of the western Ross Sea. As recently as 15,000 years ago, the area was covered by thick ice that later retreated hundreds of miles inland to its current location. The maps, which were created from state-of-the-art sonar data collected by the National Science Foundation research vessel Nathaniel B. Palmer, revealed how the ice retreated during a period of global warming after Earth’s last ice age. In several places, the maps show ancient water courses — not just a river system, but also the subglacial lakes that fed it.

Ancient Italian Fossils Reveal Risk of Parasitic Infections Due to Climate Change
July 20, 2017 03:15 PM - University of Missouri

In 2014, a team of researchers led by a paleobiologist from the University of Missouri found that clams from the Holocene Epoch (that began 11,700 years ago) contained clues about how sea level rise due to climate change could foreshadow a rise in parasitic trematodes, or flatworms. The team cautioned that the rise could lead to outbreaks in human infections if left unchecked. Now, an international team from Mizzou and the Universities of Bologna and Florida has found that rising seas could be detrimental to human health on a much shorter time scale. Findings from their study in northern Italy suggest that parasitic infections could increase in the next century, if history repeats itself.

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